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Are 'new wars' more atrocious?: battle severity, civilians killed, and forced migration before and after the Cold War
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5835-0618
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2009 (English)In: European Journal of International Relations, ISSN 1354-0661, E-ISSN 1460-3713, Vol. 15, no 3, 505-536 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is widely believed that the human impact of civil conflict in the present era is especially destructive. Proponents of the 'new wars' thesis hold that today's conflicts are fuelled by exclusive identities, motivated by greed in the absence of strong states, and unchecked by the disinterested great powers, resulting in increased battle severity, civilian death and displacement. The ratio of civilian to military casualties is claimed to have tilted, so that the overwhelming majority of those killed today are civilians. Using systematic data that are comparable across cases and over time we find that, contrary to the 'new wars' thesis, the human impact of civil conflict is considerably lower in the post-Cold War period. We argue that this pattern reflects the decline of ideological conflict, the restraining influence of globalization on governments, and the increasing rarity of superpower campaigns of destabilization and counter-insurgency through proxy warfare.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 15, no 3, 505-536 p.
Keyword [en]
battle severity, civilians killed, conflict trends, forced migration, new wars
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-87088DOI: 10.1177/1354066109338243ISI: 000269306700006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-87088DiVA: diva2:128327
Available from: 2008-12-16 Created: 2008-12-16 Last updated: 2017-12-14

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Melander, ErikÖberg, Magnus

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